Durban High School head coach Michael Baker says his team needs to play with high intensity if they stand any chance of beating provincial rivals, Michaelhouse, when the two Kwa-Zulu Natal sides lock horns this coming weekend at the Punchbowl.
Located just 125 kilometers north-west of Durban, DHS will, for the second week running, make the trip down after traveling to face Hilton last weekend and losing that highly entertaining match (4-3).
Speaking to SuperSport Schools during the week, Baker said his side needed to raise their intensity and remain resolute on defence, something they lacked in their previous match.
“We weren’t good in deep defence against Hilton, so we conceded soft goals because our defensive system wasn’t great at all,” Baker said.
“We’ve got to get better there because Michaelhouse has some really good goal scorers—that’s the key focus.”
“We also need to raise our intensity because we started the match really slow, so those are the things we need to work on,” he added.
The Durban school is known for its rugby accolades and outstanding performances over the years, which at the time overshadowed a mediocre, underperforming hockey programme.
However, that all changed in 2018, when the school acquired the services of Baker as director of hockey and eventually head coach. Baker managed to grow the school’s hockey programme from four teams to 12.
He shared how he and members of his hockey staff resurrected the program, bringing respectability and honour back to the DHS name.
“The school was supportive from the get-go; our director of sports, Mr. Pillay, and our headmaster, Mr. Pinheiro, have supported me with the vision I had,” Baker revealed.
“We’ve been able to hire some good coaches that share the same vision as me.”
“I think the most important thing is making the hockey boys feel part of something.” “We are building a good culture in the hockey program at the moment, and this year has been a game changer, with the school building an Astro at the school, so it’s been huge being able to train on campus and play on campus.”
Early in the season, DHS is showing good strides, having picked up historic wins against Northwood (1-0), Westville (2-0), and Maritzburg College (2-1) for the first time since 2009.
The coach believes these results will go a long way this season as they continue to climb up the rankings.
“There are a lot of teams we haven’t beaten in a long time that we have beaten this year.”
“When I first got here in 2018, teams like Westville and Northwood gave us double figures, so to beat them this year was quite a huge moment for the hockey side.”
The clash between the two sides will kick off at 14:00.
Other action to look out for in KZN includes a matchup between Hilton College and Pretoria Boys High.
Glenwood will look to get back to winning ways after last week’s loss against Maritzburg College when they take on Kearsney College, whereas Westville and Northwood face Maritzburg College and St. Charles, respectively.
Durban High School: Keelan Henry, Lulonke Gono, Ruben Peters, Matlhatse Sebake, Bhavesh Naicker, Lethabo Bocagwi, Leruo Ditlakhanyane, Sitchaba Siyoyo, Nathi Jona, Lumi Matwele, Aldridge Maasdorp, Liam Ruiters, Lubanzi Zulu, Tyrique Cloete, Lethabo Mathobela, Joshua Mungherera.
Michaelhouse: Pikolomzi Nkompela, Jordan Baxter, Jason Lawrence, Nicholas Pitt, Christopher Angel, Keaton Porrill, West Mitchell-Innes, Sebastian Hofmeyr, John Yeadon, Murray Hall-Jones, Thomas Griffin, Dominic Furby, Patrick Lambert, Erich van Zyl, Oliver Brown.
Other matches in KwaZulu-Natal:
Saturday, 13 May 2023
10:45 – Pretoria Boys’ High vs Hilton College
11:15 – Kearsney College vs Glenwood
11:30 – Maritzburg College vs Westville Boys’ High
12:30 – St Charles College vs Northwood
14:00 – Michaelhouse vs Durban High School